As the number of in-person activities continue to rise, there are still many areas where remote or virtual engagement will continue to be a part of everyday life. This includes healthcare services – especially now that throughout the pandemic we’ve seen the potential of virtual care firsthand.
However, increased virtual care is not only a matter of convenience, but a game-changing shift for those that previously may not have had easy access to necessary, life-saving care. One area of care that is particularly poised to benefit from this evolution is obstetrics and maternal health. The U.S. spends USD 111 billion annually on maternal and newborn care, yet has the worst maternal health outcomes among developed countries .
A number of factors can lead to a high risk pregnancy, including maternal age, pregnancy history, presence of multiples, lifestyle factors, and underlying health conditions  – yet, there are currently not enough OB-GYNs in the U.S. to meet patient needs. In fact, over 10 million women live in counties lacking OB-GYN care, and nearly half of U.S. counties lack a single OB-GYN . This shortage and lack of access hits rural women hardest, with over half living more than 30 minutes from a hospital with perinatal services . Technology advancements represent an opportunity to transform care for those who need it most – a domino effect driven by increased access to care, communities and life-saving insights.
Leading the way to greater access to high-quality care
Expectant mothers require a high frequency of time-consuming appointments, yet this lack of easy access to OB-GYN care means many women who are at high risk of complications may not be able to attend vital prenatal check-ups in person. Technology plays three key roles in helping to address maternal health inequities:
Empowering clinicians with the ability to meet and care for patients where and how they need to be cared for through remote monitoring
Empowering mothers with access to a community to provide instinct-reinforcing insights and emotional support in times of stress and anxiety
Empowering families with the software insights and remote monitoring they need to spot early signs of a problem post-partum
Philips has a long history of innovation in obstetrical care and is helping to meet these needs. For over 50 years, Philips has been at the forefront of this space, providing freedom and flexibility in pregnancy and labor to make life better for caregivers and patients. These innovations include the Philips OB solution, consisting of the Avalon Fetal monitoring portfolio, featuring Philips proprietary Smart Pulse technology, and an obstetrical information management system for continuous data flow to the EMR, which includes the Avalon Fetal and Maternal Pod and Patch, Avalon CT Transducer System, and IntelliSpace Perinatal. Additional mobile technologies like Philips’ Mobile Obstetric Monitoring solution, its portable ultrasound solution, Lumify, and apps like Pregnancy+ provide both community with other expectant mothers, as well as timely insights to highlight any potential areas of concern during or post-pregnancy.
With our connected technologies that span the continuum and decades of expertise and innovation, Philips is at the forefront of pushing change forward.
Philips Maternal Health Champion & General Care Business Leader
“There are many gaps to fill when it comes to maternal healthcare. With our connected technologies that span the continuum and decades of expertise and innovation, Philips is at the forefront of pushing change forward,” said Veronica Adamson, Philips Maternal Health Champion & General Care Business Leader. “While technology alone isn’t the solution, it is key to empowering clinicians and mothers with the tools they need to improve maternal and newborn care.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Philips shifted into a new gear – scaling internal efforts to drive forward an ecosystem to empower the expectant mothers most at-risk. Philips worked with the FDA to accelerate the availability of the Avalon CL Fetal and Maternal Pod and Patch in the U.S., in addition to existing countries in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, to support fetal and maternal monitoring. This was done to help reduce mother and clinician risk of exposure to COVID-19, in hospital and in the home, but also increases flexibility for when and how expectant mothers are monitored.
Philips’ ongoing commitment to the future of maternal care
In addition to providing innovative technologies, Philips is also working collaboratively across maternal healthcare stakeholders to help increase access to care as broadly as possible. This includes working with an ecosystem of companies to expand access to care and working closely with legislators, government officials, and coalition partners to ensure that both patients and providers can afford to take advantage of new forms of care.
Philips is committed to providing quality care to all expectant mothers and their children. Through its integrated continuous monitoring capabilities and collaboration across the industry, Philips will continue working to make care more accessible for the patients who need it most.